With the celebration of NO MORE SIXTH GRADE (woo-hoo!) comes the planning of my twelfth birthday in November. I know, I know, it's in November, so why am I planning now? Because I want this to be the best birthday I've ever had. It's going to be Hunger Games themed with a CAKE ON FIRE with NIGHTLOCK and mockingjay pins and Catching Fire cupcakes and, best of all, (wait for it...) District breads!
Though Katniss doesn't name the breads from Districts One, Two, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, and Ten, the four districts that she does name are the small cloverleaf-like rolls from Three, the fish-shapes green-tinted ones from Four and the ones she described as "the ugly drop biscuits that are our standard fare at home", Twelve, and finally, the one most described with throughout appearances, the dark crescent rolls dotted with black seeds. This is the bread that most appealed to me (maybe because of Rue) of the four breads.
At first, I was sure that the "dark ration grain", tesserae grain, would be some kind of rye grain/flour. Please tell me why I would have rye grain on hand? I know! I use it on cupcakes all the time! Just as much as Thresh is a midget! Of course!! So with no rye flour or grain, I had no choice but to use whole wheat flour. And using whole wheat flour instead of white flour in a regular bread is a bad idea, a lesson I learned the hard way. I found a recipe for whole wheat bread in The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion cookbook (thanks to my brother-in-law; big shout out! Thanks for the book!) which was AMAZING.
The original recipe called for 1/4 cup each of chopped walnuts and sunflower seeds, which I easily replaced with other, darker seeds. All the recipes online call for poppy seeds for the "black seeds", but I decided to change the game, half because a recipe said they tasted quite plain, half because the poppy seeds in Pakistan are white. I used a mixture of Nigella seeds, white poppy seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and rolled oats. These nuts add flavor and texture rather than simply poppy seeds, so I suggest this blend of seeds.
And may the odds be ever in your favor.
The Hunger Games District 11 Crescent Rolls
by Zoya Mir
• 1 1/2 cups warm water (112°F)
• 1 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp honey, molasses, or maple syrup
• 1 tbsp yeast
• 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
• 2 tbsp poppy seeds
• 1 tsp nigella seeds
• 1 1/2 tbsp whole flax seeds
• 3 tbsp sesame seeds
• 3 - 4 cups whole wheat flour
• 3 tbsp olive oil
In a small bowl or ramekin or large mug, stir together the first four ingredients. Set aside for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the seeds and the oats in a pan for 2-4 minutes until golden brown and your entire kitchen smells like heaven. If you hear cracking and popping, definitely remove it immediately.
In a large bowl, stir together the toasted seeds and the flour with the oil. Add the now puffed up yeast mixture and stir. Form into a dough and knead for ten minutes until smooth and elasticy. Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Leave it for an hour until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into halves and roll out into rounds. Cut into halves, then quarters, and finally eights, into triangles. Take the wide end of each one and roll it towards the tip. Keep rolling. Place it seam side - down on a lightly greased cookie sheet and slightly bend the edges into the center, forming a crescent. Cover and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Place the rolls in the oven for 10 -15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm.